Face it, airplane food is rarely healthy or delicious. What’s even worse is how airplane food – and ice – is often handled during flight. If you’re looking to make in-flight dining a healthier and more satisfying experience, come prepared. With a few simple steps, you could be enjoying your airplane snacks a lot more than the disappointed eaters across the aisle.
5. Pack Your Own Airline-Approved Snacks
Especially when traveling with children, consider bringing your own airplane snacks for your trip. This allows you to control what and when you’re eating, and feel safer knowing the food ingredients.
Do check with the airline first to follow their rules about bringing your own food on the plane. Be prepared by knowing which forms of food are allowed through security. Even if pre-approved, most airlines maintain the right to refuse any food or beverage at the gate. Southwest Airlines states that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”
4. Flavor Enhancers Are Game Changers
Airplane food can also be very bland. You might be provided with a bit of salt and pepper for certain meals and snack boxes, but you can do a lot better than that. Small bottles or packets of hot sauce, salsa, ketchup, and other condiments could bring some spice back to your airline food experience.
Again, as with packing your own snacks, make sure you’re following the airline’s rules about food from home and package sizing. A full bottle of ranch dressing might be rejected, but a travel-size container in your carry-on bag might be allowed if packed properly.
3. Avoid Airplane Ice
Even in a pandemic-savvy modern world, airplanes are breeding grounds for germs. Airplane ice is vulnerable to contamination from germs as it passes through the cabin and is handled by many airplane crew hands. To avoid catching as many germs as possible, skip the airplane ice and deal with having drinks on a flight without it.
What about iced drinks from an airport terminal? Keep in mind there’s no way of really knowing how the ice is handled and how often, so it’s not necessarily safer for your health.
You might also prefer to bring your own booze (BYOB) to save some money (airline alcohol can be expensive) and have more options. However, there are strict rules for this consumable treat. Your airline probably requires that crew members pour the drinks for you, and they might have guidelines for alcohol content.
For example, Southwest Airlines rules state that “alcoholic beverages with more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol are limited in checked bags to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) per passenger and must be in unopened retail packaging. Alcoholic beverages with 24% alcohol or less are not subject to limitations in checked bags.”
1. Final Takeaway
For an overall better experience with airline food, the key is planning ahead. Start with the specific airline’s website to find out your options, or give them a call with your food and drink questions ready. Most airlines are going to allow essentials like baby food and breast milk, but packaging and packing them the right way is important to avoid disappointment and confusion at the security gate. Learn the rules, follow them, and then enjoy your airplane dining with more confidence. Without the ice, of course.